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Building contractor charged with murder of cop run over in Nahariya

Bodycam footage shows Nasim Sah, 44, attempting to evade arrest by an officer as he drives into 32-year-old police volunteer Hossam Zaghir before fleeing

Prosecutors on Thursday charged 44-year-old Nasim Sah with the murder of Israel Police volunteer Hossam Zaghir, after he plowed his vehicle into the cop and another officer in the northern city of Nahariya last month.

Police said that the two-man police team had arrived at the Nahariya site on the morning of September 21 after residents complained of noise and construction work being done during the Sukkot holiday. The work was part of a project to improve flood defenses in the city. The team also began questioning Palestinian workers at the site to check whether they were in the country legally.

The workers called the contractor, Sah, who entered into a confrontation with the police. Then, officer Amir Abu Rish attempted to handcuff Sah as he tried to evade arrest by getting into his car, according to bodycam footage.

With the car door still open, Sah drove backward, knocking Abu Rish to the ground. Zaghir was standing behind the vehicle, the footage showed. Sah ran over the two while they were knocked down, then fled the scene, police charged.

Both were taken to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, where Zaghir’s death was later confirmed. Abu Rish was seriously wounded.

Sah was arrested shortly after the incident at a temporary police checkpoint near the northern town of Shlomi, which was set up as part of the manhunt for him.

Nasim Sah, the suspect in a Nahariya car-ramming that killed a police volunteer, seen during a hearing at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court, on September 22, 2021. (Alon Nadav/Flash90)

In addition to murder, Sah was charged with aggravated assault, obstructing a police officer from performing his duties, fleeing after causing bodily harm, obstruction of justice, and unlawful employment.

Police said it had requested of the Haifa Magistrate’s Court to order an extend Sah’s remand until the end of legal proceedings and the forfeiture of the vehicle used in the ramming.

Sah, from the Lower Galilee city of Arraba, is the former owner of the Ahva Arraba soccer club, which is no longer active.

“[The indictment] won’t bring the murdered Master Sgt. Hossam Zaghir back, nor the health of the police officer, Sgt. Major Amir Abu Rish,” Coastal District Commander Yoram Sofer said Thursday. “But this is a lesson for every [criminal] to know, we will reach them and bring them to justice.”

Police volunteer Hossam Zaghir is buried in the northern town of Yarka, September 22, 2021. (Fadi Amun/Courtesy)

Zaghir, 32, a father of two who had been volunteering since 2016, was given a police burial in his hometown of Yarka which followed a religious Druze ceremony. It was attended by Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, Minister Hamed Amar who personally knew Zaghir, and Likud MK Fateen Mulla, who lives in the town.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, tweeted that he sends his condolences to the family, the town of Yarka, and the entire Druze community.

Police volunteer Hossam Zaghir, killed September 21, 2021 in Nahariya (Courtesy)

Police initially investigated the incident as a potential nationalistic attack, but later said that it appeared not to be.

Nine illegal Palestinian laborers, of whom two were allegedly present during the incident, were arrested in the following hours near Jerusalem.

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